LONDON - Ford aims to cut the time it takes to develop new vehicle programs by more than one third.
By 2003, the company's C3P global computer system should have lowered development time for all-new programs to 15 months and reduced niche program development time from 15 months to 12 months.
'C3P is the auto industry's most aggressive transition from old to new technology and it is already delivering,' said Paul Blumberg, director of product development systems.
'It has become the central nervous system which is our key enabler to big improvements in productivity and cost reduction. It is also helping us get things right first time, every time,' said Blumberg.
He said Ford ranks with the industry's best at digital representation, but the $200 million system needs further investment before it can do more validation operations. 'By 2000, we want to have 90 percent of the tests we do on full prototypes, parts and laboratory rigs done by computer,' he said.
Three Ford of Europe research and development centers have come on line with C3P, which is already being used by designers in North and South America and Australia.
Blumberg said that by 2000, the electronic tool would be used by 8,000 Ford personnel at all major product development sites.